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Dubai / New Delhi, May 28: Expanding cooperation in education will be the focus of Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh's nine-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) beginning tomorrow.

Leading a high-level delegation of eminent academics, Singh will have wide-ranging discussion with Saudi leaders on increasing cooperation.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between Jamia Millia Islamia and the King Abdul Aziz University is also on the cards during the visit.

Singh will have discussions with Higher Education Minister Khalid Bin Muhammad Al-Anqari and Abdullah bin Salih Obeid, Minister for Education, and visit the King Saud University and Imam Mohammad bin Saud University.

His six-day programme in Saudi Arabia includes a call on the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and an address on investment opportunies in education between the two countries.

Singh's trip to Riyadh follows a visit by Saudi King Abdullah to New Delhi in January, when he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the "Delhi Declaration" pledging to work closely in several fields including information and communication technology.

The "Delhi Declaration" had pledged that India would assist Saudi Arabia in setting up an ICT Centre of Excellence as well as institutes of higher learning, involving education and research in the field of technology.

India had offerred opportunities for Saudi students to pursue postgraduate and doctorate level studies in technical institutions and to enhance cooperation in human resource development related to telecommunications.

It was agreed that an Educational Exchange Programme between the two countries should be finalised and concluded at an early date.

Singh, who will also visit Dubai, will interact with principals of schools in the UAE following the CBSE curriculum and attend a reception to be hosted by the Indian community there.

He will have discussions with UAE Minister of High Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and Minister of Education Hanif Hassan.

Singh's delegation includes University Grants Commission Chairman Sukhdeo Thorat, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Mushirul Hasan, Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Seyed E Hasnain, and representatives from the Aligarh Muslim University and the Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore. 


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